In Western musical theory, a cadence (Latin cadentia, "a falling") is, "a melodic or harmonic configuration that creates a sense of repose or resolution ." A harmonic cadence is a progression of (at least) two chords that concludes a phrase, section, or piece of music. A rhythmic cadence is a characteristic rhythmic pattern indicating the end of a phrase. Cadences give phrases a distinctive ending that can, for example, indicate to the listener whether the piece is to be continued or concluded. An analogy may be made with punctuation, with some weaker cadences acting as commas that indicate a pause or momentary rest, while a stronger cadence acts as a period that signals the end of the phrase or sentence. A cadence is labeled more or less "weak" or "strong" depending on the sense of finality it creates. While cadences are usually classified by specific chord or melodic progressions, the use of such progressions does not necessarily constitute a cadence—there must be a sense of closure, as at the end of a phrase. Harmonic rhythm plays an important part in determining where a cadence occurs.
Cadences are the main method used in tonal music to create the sense that one pitch is the tonic or central pitch of a passage or piece. Edward Lowinsky thought that the cadence was the "cradle of tonality."
Read more about Cadence (music): Classification of Cadences in Common Practice Tonality With Examples, Cadences in Medieval and Renaissance Polyphony, Classical Cadential Trill, Jazz, Popular Music, Rhythmic Cadence
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“And this mighty master of the organ of language, who knew its every stop and pipe, who could awaken at will the thin silver tones of its slenderest reeds or the solemn cadence of its deepest thunder, who could make it sing like a flute or roar like a cataract, he was born into a country without literature.”
—Willa Cather (18731947)